In reaction to recent protests and call for the sack of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. General Paul Boroh (Rtd.), the management of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has described the Programme as a huge success given the achievements the programme has recorded so far, saying the mandate of the office is focused on achieving peace and human capacity development in the Niger Delta region.
This was stated in press statement signed by Head Media and Communication, Owei Lakemfa, and made available to LEADERSHIP, where the office also described the programme as victim of its own successes following some level of misreading about its core mandate and priorities.
In the statement, the management said while it is opened at any time to public scrutiny, criticisms and suggestions that would further improve its performance base, critics of the programme should as well ’’assess it based on its mandate and not what individuals or groups want it to do’’.
Hence it stated among others, its primary mandates and laudable achievements recorded in the area of security, education (both technical), agriculture, entrepreneurship, skills acquisition and empowerments.
It said the end of the armed conflict in the Niger Delta became successful because of its efforts to establish a regular forum with the leaders of beneficiaries which ensured effective interaction and communication leading to the peaceful resolution of issues.
The PAP management said its contribution to the end of the ’’rash of oil facilities vandalism leading to uninterrupted oil production and the country’s oil earnings in 2017 rising to N7.3 trillion, up from N5.68 trillion in 2016’’, was one of the greatest achievements of the programme, adding that the programme has been up-to-date in the payment of Offshore and Onshore Beneficiaries school fees in Europe, United States, Asia, Africa and in the country.
’’The Amnesty Programme has despite the delayed release of funds, paid the monthly stipends of the Ex-Agitators up to December 2017 to ensure peace and stability in the region, adding that the outstanding month of January, 2018 is due to the fact that the 2018 National Budget is before the National Assembly and therefore yet to be appropriated.
’’Has contributed immensely to human capital development with 1,431 graduating under its scholarship scheme from 23 countries including 13 Ph.Ds. and 10,600 from universities in the country.
’’Is accelerating the final Integration Stage by placing emphasis on the empowerment of Beneficiaries who have been trained so that they can establish their independent businesses, reads part of the statement which further revealed that, ’’many Ex-Agitators are now proud farm owners owning rice and fish farms, poultry, piggery, snailery etc and are employers of labour.
The office however pointed out that for the sake of clarification as it has come to its knowledge that some youths believed to have been mobilized to protest against the Presidential Amnesty Office based on misinformation and misconception, should be weary of the fact that Amnesty’s mandate ’’does not include the provision of housing or pension to Beneficiaries so the claim that the Office has failed to fulfil this alleged promise, is baseless as no such agreement or policy was ever made.
It added that it was not part of its responsibility to provide infrastructure or development of the Niger Delta, rather, its mandate is to focus on human capacity development and to ensure a peaceful environment to allow for investment and the development work of other agencies like the NNDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
’’Is not a scholarship scheme nor a mass employment Bureau, rather it is primarily to cater for the 30,000 Beneficiaries and some youths from the impacted community who took amnesty, and to work for peace in the Niger Delta, the management has advised.